Father Goose
Olive Films // Unrated // $29.95 // May 28, 2013
Review by John Sinnott | posted June 8, 2013
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
The Movie:
 
At an age when most actors had long since stopped taking roles (or more likely, the phone had stopped ringing) Cary Grant was still making superb films.  After making the excellent thriller Charade, Grant went to work on the WWII light comedy, Father Goose, his second to last movie.  It was won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and thanks to Olive Films, this fun picture has made its way to Blu-ray.
 
Walter Eckland (Cary Grant) is a cantankerous old man who has dropped out of society and has been living, and drinking, in the South Pacific for years.  He has a boat that he charters so that he can have some money for booze, but basically he just does what he wants… until Japan starts expanding across the Pacific.
 
Make no mistake, Walter is not interesting in the problems between countries, he just wants to be left alone.  But when an old buddy of his now with the British Navy, Houghton (wonderfully portrayed by Trevor Howard) tricks him onto an island and then torpedoes his boat, Walter is stuck.  The island has a hut and a radio, and Houghton makes a deal with Eckland:  Walter is going to be a plane spotter, reporting any Japanese aircraft he sees flying over the island, and when the report is confirmed Houghton will reveal the location of a bottle of booze, hidden on the island.  It's not an ideal arrangement, but it works more or less.  
 
Things get more difficult for Walter when he's informed that the Japanese have captured a nearby island, and that a teacher named Catherine (Leslie Caron) students, all young girls, are still trapped there.  Walter makes the treacherous journey in his dingy and rescues the group, but it's much too dangerous to send a ship to pick them up at the present time.  So Walter, a man who dislikes society, ends up sharing his small hut with a prim and proper school teacher and a gaggle of young girls.
 
It's pretty amazing watching Cary Grant in this role.  He's unshaven and disheveled the entire time, but he still has an air of sophistication and a spark of spring in his step that makes the movie incredibly fun.  Grant is an incredibly versatile actor, and in this film he plays a curmudgeonly old drunk and makes him appear charming.  When a romance starts to blossom between Walter and Catherine it actually seems natural even with the difference in age because of the way Grant plays his character.
 
Leslie Caron does a good job as the prim teacher too, but the best supporting actor is Trevor Howard who has a great time playing in a comedy.  He brings a warmth and mischievousness to the role that really makes the film.
 
The Blu-ray:

 
Video:
 
The 1.78:1 1080p image is very nice for an unrestored film that's nearly 50 years old.  The colors are generally strong and the detail is excellent.  It's not perfect, there are a few white specks here and there, but overall the disc looks very good.
 
Audio:
 
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack (in mono) is very pleasing.  The dialog is clean and clear and there isn't any background noise.  It sounds very good for a movie from this era.
 
Extras:
 
Unfortunately, there are no bonus features.
 
Final Thoughts:
 
A wonderful comedy that looks great on Blu-ray, this penultimate Cary Grant film is one fans should seek out.  Highly Recommended.


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